Aurora voters say no to new fire hall, back garage buy

The town of Aurora, Wis., plans to acquire a garage to help provide more space for fire and rescue equipment, but voters at a town meeting Tuesday turned down a request for a proposed $594,000 addition.

The town board had suggested borrowing $720,000 to be paid off in 10 years. Voters on Tuesday authorized spending only $215,000 to buy the garage and 16 acres of property north of the Woodland Kitchen and Business Incubator, formerly Hillcrest School.

The garage, owned by Tom Kowalkowski and formerly used for logging equipment, offers about 4,500 square feet with three overhead doors.

Town Chairman Betty Bock said today she was disappointed in the outcome, but added, “We’ll see what we can work out.”

The current station near the Town Hall has significant structural and space problems. For two years, at annual meetings in April, residents have authorized the town to potentially raise the tax rate to finance a project. With plans finalized, the board hosted Tuesday’s special elector meeting.

The Wisconsin Townships Association will be contacted for advice on how best to finance the purchase, Bock said. There is about $90,000 available between contributions from the fire department, the Aurora-Homestead Rescue Squad, and the town itself, she said.

Building an addition at the new site remains a possibility “down the road,” as a portion of the current station will likely have to be removed to address the structural problems, Bock said.

The property being acquired borders the town park and could also be a source for sand or gravel needs.